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What Are The Stages of a Criminal Case in SC?

Are you facing criminal charges in SC? You may be confused and wondering what to expect from the criminal justice system. If you haven’t discussed your case with our SC criminal defense attorney, below is a basic overview of the criminal case stages in SC. It’s crucial to note that not all criminal cases will involve all the stages, and most cases don’t head to trial. For instance, your SC criminal defense lawyer may succeed in dismissing or reducing the charges against you or negotiating a favorable plea deal on your behalf.

The Prosecutor Reviews The Charges Against You

After your arrest, the prosecutor will review the charges against you to ensure that the police had probable cause to charge you, that the charges are correct, and that they can hold up in court.

The Bond Hearing

This hearing may take place within 24 hours of your arrest. The purpose of the bond hearing is to determine whether you should be held in jail until your trial or released on bail.

The Preliminary Hearing

You have the right to request a preliminary hearing in which you can challenge whether the police had probable cause for arresting you. You must have an SC criminal defense attorney during this hearing because you will not be permitted to present evidence or testify. Your attorney, however, can question the state’s witnesses. If the judge determines probable cause exists, your case will head to trial. Otherwise, the judge will dismiss the charges. It’s crucial to note that the Solicitor’s Office may reinstate your case and present it for indictment to the grand jury.

The First Appearance

This may take place within 45 of your arrest. At this time, you should have an SC criminal defense attorney building your defense strategy. Otherwise, you run the risk of the court appointing a random attorney on your case.

The Second Appearance

During this hearing, you must decide whether you should plead guilty, continue to trial, or agree to a diversion program. The prosecution must indicate whether the grand jury has indicted you or provide a plea deal (if applicable) within 30 days before this hearing.

The Pretrial Hearings

These hearings involve reviewing and determining whether certain witness statements or evidence are admissible in a jury trial.

The Trial

During the trial, the prosecution will present their case to the jury and judge. Their main goal is to prove without a doubt that you are guilty of the crime you are accused of. Your SC criminal defense attorney will also present their case to dispute the charges against you and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

The Sentencing

The judge must determine the sentence that fits your situation if you accept a plea agreement or are found guilty of the crime. You may be sent to prison or jail, have your sentence suspended, or be placed on probation, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Consult With an Experienced SC Criminal Defense Attorney Now

If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or investigated for a crime, reach out to the SC criminal defense attorneys at Sharpe & Leventis, LLC, right away to begin building your defense. Arrange your free case evaluation by calling 803-830-6296 or contacting us online.